50 Quotes by Ralph Ellison

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1. “It takes a deep commitment to change and an even deeper commitment to grow.” – 

2. “Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.” – 

3. “If you can show me how I can cling to that which is real to me while teaching me a way into the larger society, then and only then will I drop my defenses and hostility, and I will sing your praises and help you to make the desert bear fruit.” –

4. “Power doesn’t have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.” – 

5. “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – 

6. “Light confirms my reality, gives birth to my form…without light, I am not only invisible but formless as well, and to be unaware of one’s form is to live a death…the truth is the light and light are the truth.” – 

7. “In order to travel far you have to be detached.” – 

8. “The world is a possibility if only you’ll discover it.” – 

9. “It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself.” – 

10. “I feel the need to reaffirm all of it, the whole unhappy territory and all the things loved and unlovable in it, for it is all part of me.” – 

Ralph Ellison quotes that will inspire you to reach your highest potential.

11. “Man’s hope can paint a purple picture, can transform a soaring vulture into a noble eagle or moaning dove.” – 

12. “I denounce because though implicated and partially responsible, I have been hurt to the point of abysmal pain, hurt to the point of invisibility. And I defend because, in spite of it all, I find that I love.” – 

13. “The world is just as concrete, ornery, vile, and sublimely wonderful as before, only now I better understand my relation to it and it to me.” –  

14. “Having tried to give pattern to the chaos which lives within the pattern of your certainties, I must come out, I must emerge.” – 

15. “I don’t allow anonymous people to give me a sense of my worth.” –  

16. “But what a feeling can come over a man just from seeing the things he believes in and hopes for symbolized in the concrete form of a man. In something that gives a focus to all the other things, he knows to be real. Something that makes unseen things manifest and allows him to come to his hopes and dreams through his outer eye and through the touch and feel of his natural hand.” – 

17. “And the mind that has conceived a plan of living must never lose sight of the chaos against which that pattern was conceived. That goes for societies as well as for individuals.” – 

18. “If only all the contradictory voices shouting in my head would calm down and sing a song in unison, whatever it was I wouldn’t care as long as they sang without dissonance.” – 

19. “By and large, the critics and readers gave me an affirmed sense of my identity as a writer. You might know this within yourself, but to have it affirmed by others is of utmost importance. Writing is, after all, a form of communication.” – 

20. “Our task, then always, is to challenge the apparent forms of reality that is, the fixed manner and values of the few, and to struggle with it until it reveals its mad, vari-implicated chaos, its false face, and so on until it surrenders its insight, its truth.” – 

Ralph Ellison quotes on art, life, and reality

21. “Meaning grows in the mind, but the shape and form of the act remain.” –

22. “The thing to do is to exploit the meaning of the life you have.” –  

23. “The end is in the beginning and lies far ahead.” –

24. “Play the game, but don’t believe in it – that much you owe yourself … Play the game, but raise the ante, my boy. Learn how it operates, learn how you operate.” –  

25. “Perhaps simple to be known, to be looked upon by so many people, to be the focal point of so many concentrating eyes, perhaps this was enough to make one different; enough to transform one into something else, someone else; just as by becoming an increasingly larger boy one became one day a man.”  – 

26. “For now, I had begun to believe, despite all the talk of science around me, that there was a magic in spoken words.” – 

27. “But live you must, and you can either make passive love to your sickness or burn it out and go on to the next conflicting phase.”  – 

28. “I was no longer afraid. Not of important men, not of trustees and such; for knowing now that there was nothing which I could expect from them, there was no reason to be afraid.”  – 

29. “Nothing, storm or flood, must get in the way of our need for light and ever more and brighter light. The truth is the light and light is the truth.”  – 

30. “That invisibility to which I refer occurs because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of those with whom I come in contact. A matter of the construction of their INNER eyes, those eyes with which they look through their physical eyes upon reality.” – 

Ralph Ellison quotes to inspire success and greatness.

31. “While fiction is but a form of symbolic action, a mere game of “as if,” therein lies its true function and its potential for effecting change.” –  

32. “Some people are your relatives but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values.” – 

33. “Perhaps to lose a sense of where you are implying the danger of losing a sense of who you are. That must be it, I thought—to lose your direction is to lose your face.”  – 

34. “Now I know men are different and that all life is divided and that only in the division is their true health.” – 

35. “We look too much to museums. The sun coming up in the morning is enough.” – 

36. “For, like almost everyone else in our country, I started out with my share of optimism. I believed in hard work and progress and action, but now, after first being ‘for’ society and then ‘against’ it, I assign myself no rank or any limit, and such an attitude is very much against the trend of the times. But my world has become one of the infinite possibilities. What a phrase – still it’s a good phrase and a good view of life, and a man shouldn’t accept any other; that much I’ve learned underground. Until some gang succeeds in putting the world in a straitjacket, its definition is a possibility.” – 

37. “Without the possibility of action, all knowledge comes to one labeled ‘file and forget.” – 

38. “Power, for the writer…. lies in his ability to reveal if only a little bit more about the complexity of humanity.” –  

39. “I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time being ashamed.” – 

40. “Education is all a matter of building bridges.” – 

Other inspirational quotes by Ralph Ellison 

41. “The understanding of art depends finally upon one’s willingness to extend one’s humanity and one’s knowledge of human life.” – 

42. “America is woven of many strands. I would recognize them and let it so remain. Our fate is to become one, and yet many. This is not prophecy, but description.” – 

43. “If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison, and destroy.” – 

44. “I tell white kids that instead of talking about black men in a white world or black men in a white society, they should ask themselves how black they are because black men have been influencing the values of the society and the art forms of the society.” – 

45. “Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action.” –  

46. “Nothing ever stops; it divides and multiplies, and I guess sometimes it gets ground down superfine, but it doesn’t just blow away.” – 

47. “Literature is integrated, and I’m not just talking about color or race. I’m talking about the power of literature to make us recognize – and again and again – the wholeness of the human experience.” – 

48. “And all Negroes at some period of their lives there is that yearning for a sense of group unity that is the yearning of men for a flag: for a unity that cannot be compromised, that cannot be bought; that is conscious of itself, of its strength, that is militant.” – 

49. “Words are your business, boy. Not just the word. Words are everything. The key to the rock, the answer to the question.” – 

50. “I am an invisible man. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” – 

Credit: https://everydaypower.com

Ralph Waldo Ellison – An American Novelist, Literary Critic, and cholar

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Ralph Waldo Ellison (March 1, 1913– April 16, 1994) was an American novelist, literary critic, and scholar who is best known for his novel “Invisible Man,” which won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986). For The New York Times, the best of these essays in addition to the novel put him “among the gods of America’s literary Parnassus.” A posthumous novel, Juneteenth, was published after being assembled from voluminous notes he left upon his death.
Early life –

Ralph Waldo Ellison, named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, was born at 407 East First Street in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Lewis Alfred Ellison and Ida Millsap, on March 1, 1914. He was the second of three sons; firstborn Alfred died in infancy, and younger brother Herbert Maurice (or Millsap) was born in 1916. Lewis Alfred Ellison, a small-business owner and a construction foreman, died in 1916, after an operation to cure internal wounds suffered after shards from a 100-lb ice block penetrated his abdomen, when it was dropped while being loaded into a hopper. The elder Ellison loved literature, and doted on his children, Ralph discovering as an adult that his father had hoped he would grow up to be a poet.

In 1921, Ellison’s mother and her children moved to Gary, Indiana, where she had a brother. According to Ellison, his mother felt that “my brother and I would have a better chance of reaching manhood if we grew up in the north.” When she did not find a job and her brother lost his, the family returned to Oklahoma, where Ellison worked as a busboy, a shoeshine boy, hotel waiter, and a dentist’s assistant. From the father of a neighborhood friend, he received free lessons for playing trumpet and alto saxophone, and would go on to become the school bandmaster. Ida remarried three times after Lewis died. However, the family life was precarious, and Ralph worked various jobs during his youth and teens to assist with family support. While attending Douglass High School, he also found time to play on the school’s football team. He graduated from high school in 1931. He worked for a year, and found the money to make a down payment on a trumpet, using it to play with local musicians, and to take further music lessons. At Douglass, he was influenced by principal Inman E. Page and his daughter, music teacher Zelia N. Breaux.
At Tuskegee Institute –

Ellison applied twice for admission to Tuskegee Institute, the prestigious all-black university in Alabama founded by Booker T. Washington. He was finally admitted in 1933 for lack of a trumpet player in its orchestra. Ellison hopped freight trains to get to Alabama, and was soon to find out that the institution was no less class-conscious than white institutions generally were.

Ellison’s outsider position at Tuskegee “sharpened his satirical lens,” critic Hilton Als believes: “Standing apart from the university’s air of sanctimonious Negritude enabled him to write about it.” In passages of Invisible Man, “he looks back with scorn and despair on the snivelling ethos that ruled at Tuskegee.”

Tuskegee’s music department was perhaps the most renowned department at the school, headed by composer William L. Dawson. Ellison also was guided by the department’s piano instructor, Hazel Harrison. While he studied music primarily in his classes, he spent his free time in the library with modernist classics. He cited reading T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land as a major awakening moment. In 1934, he began to work as a desk clerk at the university library, where he read James Joyce and Gertrude Stein. Librarian Walter Bowie Williams enthusiastically let Ellison share in his knowledge.

A major influence upon Ellison was English teacher Morteza Drezel Sprague, to whom Ellison later dedicated his essay collection Shadow and Act. He opened Ellison’s eyes to “the possibilities of literature as a living art” and to “the glamour he would always associate with the literary life. “Through Sprague, Ellison became familiar with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, identifying with the “brilliant, tortured anti-heroes” of those works.

As a child, Ellison evidenced what would become a lifelong interest in audio technology, starting by taking apart and rebuilding radios, and later moved on to constructing and customizing elaborate hi-fi stereo systems as an adult. He discussed this passion in a December 1955 essay, “Living With Music,” in High Fidelity magazine. Ellison scholar John S. Wright contends that this deftness with the ins-and-outs of electronic devices went on to inform Ellison’s approach to writing and the novel form. Ellison remained at Tuskegee until 1936, and decided to leave before completing the requirements for a degree.
In New York –

Desiring to study sculpture, he moved to New York City on 5 July 1936 and found lodging at a YMCA on 135th Street in Harlem, then “the culture capital of black America.” He met Langston Hughes, “Harlem’s unofficial diplomat” of the Depression era, and one—as one of the country’s celebrity black authors—who could live from his writing. Hughes introduced him to the black literary establishment with Communist sympathies.

He met several artists who would influence his later life, including the artist Romare Bearden and the author Richard Wright (with whom he would have a long and complicated relationship). After Ellison wrote a book review for Wright, Wright encouraged him to write fiction as a career. His first published story was “Hymie’s Bull,” inspired by Ellison’s 1933 hoboing on a train with his uncle to get to Tuskegee. From 1937 to 1944, Ellison had over 20 book reviews, as well as short stories and articles, published in magazines such as New Challenge and The New Masses.

Wright was then openly associated with the Communist Party, and Ellison was publishing and editing for communist publications, although his “affiliation was quieter,” according to historian Carol Polsgrove in Divided Minds. Both Wright and Ellison lost their faith in the Communist Party during World War II, when they felt the party had betrayed African Americans and replaced Marxist class politics with social reformism. In a letter to Wright, dated August 18, 1945, Ellison poured out his anger with party leaders: “If they want to play ball with the bourgeoisie they needn’t think they can get away with it. … Maybe we can’t smash the atom, but we can, with a few well chosen, well written words, smash all that crummy filth to hell.” In the wake of this disillusion, Ellison began writing Invisible Man, a novel that was, in part, his response to the party’s betrayal.

In 1938, Ellison met Rosa Araminta Poindexter, a woman two years his senior. They were married in late 1938. Rose was a stage actress, and continued her career after their marriage. In biographer Arnold Rampersad’s assessment of Ellison’s taste in women, he was searching for one “physically attractive and smart who would love, honor, and obey him–but not challenge his intellect.” At first they lived at 312 West 122nd Street, Rose’s apartment, but moved to 453 West 140th Street after her income shrank. In 1941 he briefly had an affair with Sanora Babb, which he confessed to his wife afterward, and in 1943 the marriage was over.

At the start of World War II, Ellison was classed 1A by the local Selective Service System, and thus eligible for the draft. However, he was not drafted. Toward the end of the war, he enlisted in the United States Merchant Marine. In 1946, he married Fanny McConnell, an accomplished person in her own right: a scholarship graduate of the University of Iowa who was a founder of the Negro People’s Theater in Chicago and a writer for The Chicago Defender. She helped support Ellison financially while he wrote Invisible Man by working for American Medical Center for Burma Frontiers (the charity supporting Gordon S. Seagrave’s medical missionary work). From 1947 to 1951, he earned some money writing book reviews but spent most of his time working on Invisible Man. Fanny also helped type Ellison’s longhand text and assisted him in editing the typescript as it progressed.

Published in 1952, Invisible Man explores the theme of a person’s search for their identity and place in society, as seen from the perspective of the first-person narrator, an unnamed African American man, first in the Deep South and then in the New York City of the 1930s. In contrast to his contemporaries such as Richard Wright and James Baldwin, Ellison created characters that are dispassionate, educated, articulate, and self-aware. Through the protagonist, Ellison explores the contrasts between the Northern and Southern varieties of racism and their alienating effect. The narrator is “invisible” in a figurative sense, in that “people refuse to see” him, and also experiences a kind of dissociation. The novel also contains taboo issues such as incest and the controversial subject of communism.
Later years –

In 1964, Ellison published Shadow and Act, a collection of essays, and began to teach at Bard College, Rutgers University and Yale University, while continuing to work on his novel. The following year, a Book Week poll of 200 critics, authors, and editors was released that proclaimed Invisible Man the most important novel since World War II.

In 1967, Ellison experienced a major house fire at his summer home in Plainfield, Massachusetts, in which he claimed more than 300 pages of his second novel manuscript were lost. A perfectionist regarding the art of the novel, Ellison had said in accepting his National Book Award for Invisible Man that he felt he had made “an attempt at a major novel” and, despite the award, he was unsatisfied with the book. Ellison ultimately wrote more than 2,000 pages of this second novel but never finished it.
Ellison died on April 16, 1994, of pancreatic cancer and was interred in a crypt at Trinity Church Cemetery in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan.
Awards and recognition –

Invisible Man won the 1953 US National Book Award for Fiction.

The award was his ticket into the American literary establishment. He eventually was admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, received two President’s Medals (from Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan) and a State Medal from France. He was the first African-American admitted to the Century Association and was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Harvard University. Disillusioned by his experience with the Communist Party, he used his new fame to speak out for literature as a moral instrument. In 1955 he traveled to Europe, visiting and lecturing, settling for a time in Rome, where he wrote an essay that appeared in a 1957 Bantam anthology called A New Southern Harvest. Robert Penn Warren was in Rome during the same period, and the two writers became close friends. Later, Warren would interview Ellison about his thoughts on race, history, and the Civil Rights Movement for his book Who Speaks for the Negro? In 1958, Ellison returned to the United States to take a position teaching American and Russian literature at Bard College and to begin a second novel, Juneteenth. During the 1950s, he corresponded with his lifelong friend, the writer Albert Murray. In their letters they commented on the development of their careers, the Civil Rights Movement, and other common interests including jazz. Much of this material was published in the collection Trading Twelves (2000).

Writing essays about both the black experience and his love for jazz music, Ellison continued to receive major awards for his work. In 1969, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the following year, he was made a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Letters by France and became a permanent member of the faculty at New York University as the Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities, serving from 1970 to 1980.

In 1975, Ellison was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and his hometown of Oklahoma City honored him with the dedication of the Ralph Waldo Ellison Library. Continuing to teach, Ellison published mostly essays, and in 1984, he received the New York City College’s, Langston Hughes Medal. In 1985, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 1986, his Going to the Territory was published; this is a collection of seventeen essays that included insight into southern novelist William Faulkner and Ellison’s friend Richard Wright, as well as the music of Duke Ellington and the contributions of African Americans to America’s national identity.

In 1992, Ellison was awarded a special achievement award from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards; his artistic achievements included work as a sculptor, musician, photographer, and college professor as well as his writing output. He taught at Bard College, Rutgers University, the University of Chicago, and New York University. Ellison was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
Legacy and posthumous publications –

After Ellison’s death, more manuscripts were discovered in his home, resulting in the publication of Flying Home and Other Stories in 1996. In 1999, his second novel, Juneteenth, was published under the editorship of John F. Callahan, a professor at Lewis & Clark College and Ellison’s literary executor. It was a 368-page condensation of more than 2,000 pages written by Ellison over a period of 40 years. All the manuscripts of this incomplete novel were published collectively on January 26, 2010, by Modern Library, under the title Three Days Before the Shooting…

On February 18, 2014, the USPS issued a 91¢ stamp honoring Ralph Ellison in its Literary Arts series.

A park on 150th Street and Riverside Drive in Harlem (near 730 Riverside Drive, Ellison’s principal residence from the early 1950s until his death) was dedicated to Ellison on May 1, 2003. In the park stands a 15 by 8-foot bronze slab with a “cut-out man figure” inspired by his book Invisible Man.


Invisible no longer –

As the calendar nears the end of Black History Month, we’re paying a visit to the memorial for American writer Ralph Ellison in New York’s Riverside Park. The 15-foot-tall bronze monolith depicts a striding, purposeful figure—or rather, the absence of a figure. This sculpture, by artist Elizabeth Catlett, was inspired by Ellison’s most famous written work, ‘Invisible Man,’ published in 1952. The lyrical, uncompromising novel is narrated by an unnamed Black man who describes his agonizing search for identity in a society largely hostile to African Americans and blind to the suffering and indignities of the Black experience. The sculpture bears an inscription of the novel’s opening words: ‘I am an invisible man…I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.’ Widely recognized as one of the greatest American novels of the 20th century, ‘Invisible Man’ won the National Book Award in 1953 and remains one of the most searing portraits of modern American life.
Credit: wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Ellison
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Losing A Friend During War – A Poem Written by Ethan. Young Poets Who Inspire!

This is a poem written by Ethan, a 14-year-old who wrote this poem to commemorate his uncle when he told Ethan a story of his best friend passing away in his arms.

Losing A Friend During War

Running through the battlefield, bracing for the bang.
Cannons fire near me, metal swords go clang.

Everyone I know and love could flash before my eyes.
Yet I wash out all those scary thoughts and hope that no one dies.

The ringing in my head has overcome my ears.
I watch my best friend kill someone, holding back the tears.

Think about the wives and kids that don’t know if we’re fine,
sitting through the churching hours, eating bread and wine.

Hoping one day they’ll see their dad, running to embrace.
His tired arms wrapped around them, with a smile on his face.

Screaming and horror fills the sweat on my skin,
as I watch my best friend tumble, amongst all of the sin.

I carry him back as I watch him slowly die,
hoping someone hears me scream my battle cry.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/battle-cry

Winter Snow – A Poem

Silently the snow fell in the night, blanketing everything uncovered, as one blankets a sleeping child. Plants and trees were smothered by nature’s ice-cold quilt.

To all who lie in bed listening for the snowfall, excited at what awaits the daybreak, winter carried a surprise. An arctic blast with huge snowfalls, as icicles formed on rooftops like frozen ornaments hanging off tree branches.

Snow dusting over cars and trucks, while sprinkling softly over roads and lakes. The frigid cold wind blew with no remorse, children playing in the snow would run inside to warm their frozen hands.

The sun softened on the horizon, and the snow gently crept into the past. Snowmen shrank, fields once white with snow turned brown as the snow slowly vanished.

Once again, old man winter came to visit and blanketed everything in town. Soon all that white stuff would go away by itself. That winter-wonderland would turn into vapor without having to melt.
Written by: Jasmine Parker ©
Photo credit: Yahoo.com / images

Mother to Son – A Poem Written by Langston Hughes

This poem is one that one might imagine a mother of that era sitting down and saying to her son. In the language that might have been used by this mother during that time. Langston Hughes had a way of bringing life to his poetry by writing about real-life and being straightforward about how things were during the 50s and 60s.

Hughes was a poet, novelist, fiction writer, and playwright. He is also known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties and was important in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance.

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—


But all the time

I’se been a’climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark,

Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back;

Don’t you sit down on the steps,

’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard;

Don’t you fall now—

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Credit: Poets.org

Christopher Plummer – The Life and Death of a Movie Icon (December 13, 1929 – February 5, 2021)

Christopher Plummer was one of the most credible, genius, sincere actors of our time. He was genuine in every part he played on screen. His tall, suave appearance, beautiful accent, eyes that seemed to penetrate the heart of any woman he laid eyes on, and I must say, he attracted the eye of many women on screen and off. I can honestly say years ago I had a crush on him myself. Up until his death, he was still an incredibly handsome man, gifted actor, and humanitarian.

My favorite movies with Christopher Plummer were, “Somewhere in Time,” and “Wolf.” May this beautiful man rest in peace.  His legacy will forever live in our hearts!

Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer CC (December 13, 1929 – February 5, 2021) was a Canadian actor. His career spanned seven decades, gaining recognition for his performances in film, television, and theatre. Plummer made his Broadway debut in 1954 and continued to act in leading roles on stage playing Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano (1974), Iago in Othello, as well as playing the titular roles in Hamlet at Elsinore (1964), Macbeth, King Lear, and Barrymore. Plummer also performed in stage productions J.B., No Man’s Land, and Inherit the Wind.

Plummer was born in Toronto and grew up in Senneville, Quebec. After appearing on stage, he made his film debut in Sidney Lumet’s Stage Struck (1958), and won great acclaim for his performance as Captain Georg von Trapp in the musical film The Sound of Music (1965) alongside Julie Andrews. Plummer portrayed numerous major historical figures, including Commodus in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington in Waterloo (1970), Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Mike Wallace in The Insider (1999), Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009), Kaiser Wilhelm II in The Exception (2016), and J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World (2017). Plummer also appeared in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992), Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001), Terrence Malick’s The New World (2005), David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019), and Todd Robinson’s The Last Full Measure (2019).

Plummer received various awards for his work, including an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a British Academy Film Award. He is one of the few performers to have received the Triple Crown of Acting and the only Canadian. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 82 for Beginners (2010), becoming the oldest person to win an acting award, and he received a nomination at the age of 88 for All the Money in the World, making him the oldest person to be nominated in an acting category.

 Early life – 

Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born on December 13, 1929, in Toronto, Ontario. He was the only child of John Orme Plummer, who sold stocks and other securities, and his wife Isabella Mary (née Abbott), who worked as secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University and was the granddaughter of Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott. On his father’s side, Plummer’s great-uncle was a patent lawyer and agent F. B. Fetherstonhaugh. Plummer was also a second cousin of British actor Nigel Bruce, known for portraying Doctor Watson to Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes.

Plummer’s parents divorced shortly after his birth, and he was brought up mainly by his mother in the Abbott family home in Senneville, Quebec, outside Montreal. He spoke English and French fluently. As a schoolboy, he began studying to be a concert pianist, but developed a love for theatre at an early age, and began acting while he was attending the High School of Montreal. He took up acting after watching Laurence Olivier’s film Henry V (1944). He learned the basics of acting as an apprentice with the Montreal Repertory Theatre, where fellow Montrealer William Shatner also played.

Plummer never attended university, something he regretted all his life. Although his mother and his father’s family had ties with McGill University, he was never a McGill student.

In 1946, he caught the attention of Montreal Gazette’s theatre critic Herbert Whittaker with his performance as Mr. Darcy in a Montreal High School production of “Pride and Prejudice.” Whittaker was also amateur stage director of the Montreal Repertory Theatre, and he cast Plummer at age 18 as Oedipus in Jean Cocteau’s La Machine Infernale.

Plummer made his professional acting debut in 1948 with Ottawa’s Stage Society after which he performed roles as an apprentice artist with the Montreal Repertory Theatre alongside fellow apprenticing actor William Shatner. In 1952, he starred in a number of productions at the Bermudiana Theatre in the City of Hamilton, in the British colony of Bermuda where he was seen and recruited by a US producer, although he was reluctant to leave Bermuda.  Edward Everett Horton hired Plummer to appear as Gerard in the 1953 roadshow production of André Roussin’s Nina, a role originated on Broadway by David Niven in 1951.

Plummer made his Canadian television debut in the February 1953 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation production of Othello, starring Lorne Greene as the Moor. His American television debut was also in 1953 on a Studio One episode entitled “The Gathering Night”, as an artist who finds success just as his eyesight begins to fail him. He also appeared throughout the 1950s on both dramatic showcase programs like The Alcoa Hour, General Electric Theater, Kraft Television Theatre, and Omnibus and episodic series. In 1956, he appeared with Jason Robards and Constance Ford in an episode entitled “A Thief There Was” of CBS’s anthology series Appointment with Adventure.

Plummer made his Broadway debut in January 1953 in “The Starcross Story,” a show that closed on opening night after a plagiarism lawsuit shut down the production. His next Broadway appearance, Home is the Hero, lasted 30 performances from September to October 1954. He appeared in support of Broadway legend Katharine Cornell and film legend Tyrone Power in “The Dark Is Light Enough,” which lasted 69 performances from February to April 1955. The play toured several cities, with Plummer serving as Power’s understudy. Later that same year, he appeared in his first Broadway hit, opposite Julie Harris (who won a Tony Award) in Jean Anouilh’s The Lark. After appearing in Night of the Auk, which was not a success, Plummer appeared in Elia Kazan’s successful Broadway production of Archibald MacLeish’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play J.B. Plummer was nominated for his first Tony as Best Actor in Play. (J.B. also won some Tony’s as Best Play and for Kazan’s direction.) He appeared as Jason opposite Dame Judith Anderson in Robinson Jeffers’ adaptation of Medea at the Theatre Sara Bernhardt in Paris in 1955. The American National Theatre and Academy production, directed by Guthrie McClintic, was part of Le Festival International. Also in 1955, he played Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Ferdinand in The Tempest at the American Shakespeare Festival (Stratford, Connecticut). He returned to the American Shakespeare Festival in 1981 to play the title role in Henry V. Plummer made his debut at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1956, playing the title role in Henry V, which subsequently was performed that year at the Edinburgh Festival. He played the title role in Hamlet and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night at Stratford in 1957. The following year, he played Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Bardolph in Henry IV, Part 1, and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.

Plummer’s film career began in 1958 when Sidney Lumet cast him as a young writer in Stage Struck. That same year, Plummer played the lead in Nicholas Ray’s film Wind Across the Everglades. Also in 1958, he appeared in the live television drama Little Moon of Alban with Julie Harris, for which he received his first Emmy Award nomination. He also appeared with Harris in the 1958 television adaptation of Johnny Belinda and played Torvald Helmer to Harris’ Nora in a 1959 television version of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

The 1960s –

Plummer also starred in the television adaptations of Philip Barry’s The Philadelphia Story (1959), George Bernard Shaw’s Captain Brassbound’s Conversion (1960), Jean Anouilh’s Time Remembered (playing the role of Prince Albert originated by Richard Burton on Broadway), and Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1962). In 1964, his performance of the Gloomy Dane in the BBC production Hamlet at Elsinore garnered him his second Emmy nomination. At the Stratford Festival in 1960, he played Philip the Bastard in King John and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. In 1962 at Stratford, he played the title roles in both Cyrano de Bergerac and Macbeth, returning in 1967 to play Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra.

In April 1961, he appeared as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He also appeared with the RSC in May 1961 in the lead role of Richard III. He made his London debut on June 11, 1961, playing King Henry II in Jean Anouilh’s Becket with the RSC at the Aldwych Theatre, directed by Peter Hall. The production later transferred to the Globe for a December 1961 to April 1962 run. For his performance, Plummer won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actor. In 1963, he was the subject of a short National Film Board of Canada documentary, 30 Minutes, Mister Plummer, directed by Anne Claire Poirier. Plummer did not appear on the film screen for six years after 1958 until he played the Roman emperor Commodus in Anthony Mann’s epic The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). He played Hamlet in a four-hundred centenary television production Hamlet at Elsinore, produced by Danish and British BBC TV (1964), taped at Elsinore Castle.

His next film, the Oscar-winning The Sound of Music, made cinematic history, becoming the all-time top-grossing film, eclipsing Gone with the Wind.

He was in Inside Daisy Clover (1965), then played World War Two agent Eddie Chapman in Triple Cross (1966), and had a supporting role as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in The Night of the Generals (1967). Plummer was cast to replace Rex Harrison for the film adaptation of Doctor Dolittle. This decision was later reversed, but Plummer was nonetheless paid $87,500 for signing the contract. At the same time, Plummer was performing in the stage play The Royal Hunt of the Sun, and his whole Dolittle participation was so brief that Plummer never missed a performance.

Plummer had the title role in Oedipus the King (1968) and The High Commissioner (1968), playing an Australian in the latter. Plummer was one of many stars in Battle of Britain (1969), and the lead in a musical, Lock Up Your Daughters (1969).

Plummer appeared less frequently on Broadway in the 1960s as he moved from New York to London. He appeared in the title role in a 1963 production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, which did not succeed, but he had great success in Peter Shaffer’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun, playing conquistador Francisco Pizarro to David Carradine’s Atahuallpa. Both performances were “stunning,” as Plummer did wonders “of extraordinary beauty and deep pain” in playing his complex character. In the 1969 film adaptation of The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Plummer plays the Inca Emperor Atahualpa to Robert Shaw’s Pizarro.

Main article: The Sound of Music (film)

Plummer remains widely known for his portrayal of Captain Von Trapp due to the box office success and continued popularity of The Sound of Music (1965), which he once described as “so awful and sentimental and gooey”. He found all aspects of making the film unpleasant, except working with Andrews, and he avoided using its name, instead of calling it “that movie”, “S&M”, or “The Sound of Mucus”. He declined to attend the 40th Anniversary cast reunion, but he did provide commentary on the 2005 DVD release. He relented for the 45th anniversary and appeared with the full cast on The Oprah Winfrey Show on October 28, 2010.

In 2009, Plummer said that he was “a bit bored with the character” of Captain von Trapp. “Although we worked hard enough to make him interesting, it was a bit like flogging a dead horse. And the subject matter is not mine. I mean, it can’t appeal to every person in the world.” However, he admitted that the film itself was well made and was proud to be associated with a film with such mass appeal. “But it was a very well-made movie, and it’s a family movie and we haven’t seen a family movie, I don’t think, on that scale for ages.” In one interview he said that he had “terrific memories” of making the movie.

The 1970s –

From June 1971 to January 1972, he appeared at the National Theatre, acting in repertory for the season. The plays he appeared in were Jean Giraudoux’s Amphitryon 38 directed by Laurence Olivier, Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Death (director Jonathan Miller); Adrian Mitchell’s Tyger; Luigi Pirandello’s The Rules of the Game; and Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night at the New Theatre in London. From May to June 1973, he appeared on Broadway as the title character in Cyrano, a musical adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Anthony Burgess and Michael J. Lewis. For that performance, Plummer won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. Later that year, he played Anton Chekhov in Neil Simon’s adaptation of several Chekhov short stories, The Good Doctor. Another notable play in which he appeared was the 1974 adaptation of Arthur Miller’s After the Fall, in which he played Quentin (a part originated on Broadway by Jason Robards opposite Faye Dunaway’s Maggie.

On-screen, Plummer portrayed the Duke of Wellington in Waterloo (1970). The Pyx (1973) was his first Canadian film. He also appeared in The Man Who Would Be King (1975) (playing Rudyard Kipling) alongside Michael Caine and Sean Connery. He also appeared in the comedy The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), alongside Peter Sellers and The Silent Partner (1978) opposite Elliott Gould. He appeared in Aces High (1976), Starcrash (1978), International Velvet (1978), and Murder by Decree (1979) (playing Sherlock Holmes). Plummer appeared in Lovers and Madmen at the Opera House at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 1973 and in Love and Master Will at the same venue in 1975. Love and Master Will consisted of selections from the works of William Shakespeare on the subject of love, arranged by Plummer. His co-stars were Zoe Caldwell, Bibi Andersson, and Leonard Nimoy. Plummer played “Edgar” in E. L. Doctorow’s Drinks before Dinner with the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Public/Newman Theatre in New York City in 1978. He appeared as Herod Antipas in the television miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977) alongside the ensemble cast which included Laurence Olivier,  James Earl Jones, and James Mason.

The 1980s –

In the 1980s, he appeared on Broadway in two Shakespearean tragedies, Othello, playing Iago to James Earl Jones’ Moor, and the title role in Macbeth with Glenda Jackson playing his lady. His Iago brought him another Tony nomination.

Plummer appeared as Gregory Peck’s character’s enemy in the true based made for television movie The Scarlet and the Black in 1983 and also that year in the five-time Emmy Award-winning television series The Thorn Birds (1983) alongside Barbara Stanwyck, and Jean Simmons. In the film, Plummer appeared in the romantic drama “Somewhere in Time ‘ (1980), the drama Eyewitness (1981), the comedy Dragnet (1987), and Shadow Dancing (1988). Plummer also did some voice work, such as his role of Henri the pigeon in An American Tail (1986) and the villainous Grand Duke of Owls in Rock-a-Doodle (1991), both directed by Don Bluth.

The 1990s –

He appeared with Jason Robards in the 1994 revival of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land and had great success in 1997 in Barrymore, which he also toured with after a successful Broadway run. His turn as John Barrymore brought him his second Tony Award (this time as Best Actor in Play) and a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Actor in a Play. From 1993 to 1995, he narrated the animated television series Madeline, for which he received an Emmy Award, as well as the animated television series The World of David the Gnome.

Plummer continued acting in films including the science fiction film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), which was a welcome opportunity for Plummer since he was a fan of the Star Trek franchise which also allowed him to perform with his former understudy and long-time friend, William Shatner. He also appeared in Spike Lee’s biographical drama Malcolm X (1992), Mike Nichol’s horror drama Wolf (1994), Taylor Hackford’s psychological drama Dolores Claiborne (1995), and Terry Gilliam’s science fiction drama 12 Monkeys (1995). One of Plummer’s most critically acclaimed roles was that of television journalist Mike Wallace in Michael Mann’s biographical film The Insider (1999), for which he was honored with several critics’ awards for Best Supporting Actor, though a corresponding Academy Award nomination did not materialize.

The 2000s –

Plummer at the premiere for “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” 2009

In 2000, Plummer starred as Sir David Maxwell Fyfe in the Primetime Emmy Award-winning Nuremberg (2000) also featuring Alec Baldwin, Brian Cox, and Max Von Sydow, and the Emmy-winning The Moneychangers for which he won his first Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series. That same year he co-starred in American Tragedy as F. Lee Bailey for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination and appeared in Four Minute Mile, Miracle Planet, and a documentary by Ric Burns about Eugene O’Neill. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his performance in Our Fathers and reunited with Julie Andrews for a television production of On Golden Pond. He was the narrator for The Gospel of John. He also co-starred with Gregory Peck in “The Scarlet and the Black.”

Plummer reprised his role from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in the video game “Star Trek: Klingon Academy.” In 2011, he provided the voice of Arngeir, speaker for the Greybeards, in “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” In 2004, Plummer appeared as a presenter in the CPAC documentary series The Prime Ministers. He appears in the third episode, “John Abbott” as Plummer is Abbott’s great-grandson).

In 2002, he appeared in a lauded production of “King Lear,” directed by Jonathan Miller. The production successfully transferred to New York City’s Lincoln Center in 2004. He was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for his 2004 King Lear and for a Tony playing Henry Drummond in the 2007 revival of Inherit the Wind. He returned to the stage at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in August 2008 in a critically acclaimed performance as Julius Caesar in George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra directed by Tony winner Des McAnuff; this production was videotaped and shown in high-definition in Canadian cinemas on January 31, 2009 (with an encore presentation on February 23, 2009) and broadcast on April 4, 2009, on Bravo in n Canada.

Plummer’s other turns from this period include his roles as Dr. Rosen in Ron Howard’s Academy Award-winning A Beautiful Mind (2001), Arthur Case in Spike Lee’s film Inside Man (2006), and the philosopher Aristotle in Alexander, alongside Colin Farrell. In 2004, Plummer briefly played John Adams Gates in the Disney adventure film National Treasure. He also appeared in Stephen Gaghan’s’ drama Syriana (2005), the romantic comedy “Must Love Dogs”(2005), Terrence Malick’s historical drama The New World (2005), and the romantic drama “The Lake House,” (2006). In 2009, Plummer gave a voice performance for Pixar’s animated film Up where he played the antagonistic character, Charles Muntz. That same year he also lent his voice in Tim Burton-produced action/science fiction film 9 playing elder leader 1.

The 2010s – 

Plummer in 2007

In January 2010, Plummer received his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of author Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). Speaking to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview that aired on March 7, 2010, Plummer added, tongue-in-cheek, “Well, I said it’s about time! I mean, I’m 80 years old, for God’s sake. Have mercy.” On Oscar night, March 7, 2010, however, he lost to Christoph Waltz. 

In 2009 and 2010, Plummer starred in two-stage to screen adaptations of the Stratford Festival productions of George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Both plays were directed for the stage by Des McAnuff and produced by Barry Avrich. The Tempest won Plummer a Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program.

In 2011, he appeared in the feature-length documentary “The Captains.” The film, written and directed by William Shatner, sees Shatner interview Plummer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre where they talk about their young careers, long-lasting friendship, and Plummer’s role as Chang in Star Trek VI. The film references that Shatner, two years Plummer’s junior, was the other’s understudy in a production of Henry V at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. When Plummer had fallen ill, Shatner took the stage, earning his first big break.

That same year, Plummer appeared in David Fincher’s English-language film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, and Stellan Skarsgård. The film was a critical and commercial success. Earlier that year, Plummer received his second nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Mike Mills’ independent comedy-drama film “Beginners” (2011) starring Ewan McGregor, and Mélanie Laurent. Plummer was announced as the winner at the 84th Academy Awards. Plummer’s win made him, at age 82, the oldest actor to win an Academy Award. When he accepted the award, he quipped “You’re only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all my life?”.

Plummer returned to the Stratford Festival in the summer of 2010 in The Tempest as the lead character, Prospero (also videotaped and shown in high-def in cinemas), and again in the summer of 2012 in the one-man show, A Word or Two, an autobiographical exploration of his love of literature. In 2014, Plummer presented A Word or Two again, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. In 2015 he starred in the Atom Egoyan-directed thriller Remember starring alongside Martin Landau and Bruno Ganz.

In November 2017, Plummer, who was director Ridley Scott’s original choice to play J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World, was cast to replace Kevin Spacey in the then-already completed film. The move came amid numerous sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations made towards Spacey. All scenes that had included Spacey were re-shot with Plummer. Co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams were part of the necessary filming. The decision was made not long before the scheduled release date of December 22. TriStar Pictures intended to meet that release date in spite of the tight re-shooting and editing schedule; it was eventually pushed back to December 25. For his role, Plummer earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.

At the age of 89, he appeared in a leading role in Departure, a 2019 Canadian-British TV series by Global for NBC Universal about the disappearance of a trans-Atlantic flight. He starred as murder mystery writer Harlan Thrombey in Rian Johnson’s ensemble mystery film “Knives Out “alongside Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, and Chris Evans.

The 2020s – 

At age 90, Plummer was set to return to Departure for season 2. Due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and Canadian travel lockdown, he would film his parts from his home in Connecticut, instead of venturing to Toronto, in 2020 and 2021. In 2021, at age 91, Plummer was set to play the lead for a big-screen film adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, to be filmed in the summer, in Newfoundland, under director Des McAnuff. He died before filming commenced.

Other works – 

Plummer at the Toronto International Film Festival, 2009

Plummer also wrote for the stage, television, and concert-hall. He and Sir Neville Marriner rearranged Shakespeare’s Henry V with Sir William Walton’s music as a concert piece. They recorded the work with Marriner’s chamber orchestra the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He performed it and other works with the New York Philharmonic and symphony orchestras of London, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax. With Marriner he made his Carnegie Hall debut in his own arrangements of Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Personal life-

Plummer married three times. His first wife was the actress Tammy Grimes, whom he married in 1956. Their marriage lasted four years, and they had a daughter together, the actress Amanda Plummer (born 1957).

Plummer was next married to journalist Patricia Lewis from May 4, 1962, until their divorce in 1967. Three years after his second divorce, Plummer married actress Elaine Taylor on October 2, 1970. Plummer and Elaine lived together in Weston, Connecticut. Plummer had no children by either his second or third marriages.

Plummer’s memoir, In Spite of Myself, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in November 2008 Plummer was a patron of Theatre Museum Canada. He was a member of the Players Club in New York City.

Death – 

On February 5, 2021, Plummer died at his home in Weston, Connecticut, aged 91. According to his wife, Elaine Taylor, he died from a blow to the head resulting from a fall. His family released a statement announcing that Plummer had died peacefully with Taylor at his side.

Following the announcement of his death, his The Sound of Music costar Julie Andrews paid tribute to Plummer:

The world has lost a consummate actor today and I have lost a cherished friend. I treasure the memories of our work together and all the humor and fun we shared through the years.

Others who paid tribute to Plummer included Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katherine Langford, Rian Johnson, Chris Evans, and Don Johnson (who all collaborated with him on Knives Out), as well as William Shatner, Anne Hathaway, Elijah Wood, Vera Farmiga, Ed Asner, Ridley Scott, Simon Pegg, Antonio Banderas, Leonard Maltin, Daniel Dae Kim, George Takei, Russell Crowe, Bruce Greenwood and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager of 46 years, said; Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self-deprecating humor, and the music of words. He was a national treasure who deeply relished his Canadian roots. Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come. He will forever be with us.

Credit: Wikipedia.com

Photo Credit: Yahoo.com/images

Deadly Crashes & Vehicle Pile-ups on I-35 in Forth Worth, Texas – Thursday, February 11, 2021

Sending my thoughts and prayers to all affected by this horrible crash. Please, let’s all drive slow in the rainy or icy weather.

What started as an average day for Ryan Chaney turned into something straight out of a disaster movie as he found himself trying to pull people from the wreckage of a mass-casualty crash in Fort Worth on Thursday morning, February 11, 2021.

Chaney, an independent trucker from Argyle, was driving south on I-35 to work, where he hauls power poles for Sabre Industries. The 6 a.m. traffic moved semi-normally, with Chaney and most drivers going about 60 mph on mostly dry roads.

As he neared the 820 interchanges, Chaney noticed his headlights reflecting off the surface of the road and recognized there could be black ice. He and other cars around him slowed down to about 20 mph.

But as he reached the 35W bridge near downtown Fort Worth, the road turned into “a solid sheet of ice,” he said. The driver next to him spun out and hit a guardrail. He slid into the car, luckily not causing much damage, and gained enough control to pull to the side of the highway.

Chaney got out of his truck and stood next to a guardrail that separated him from the TEXPress lanes. He asked the other driver that spun out if he was all right. As the driver told him that he was fine, he heard sliding sounds from the TEXPress lines beside him.

As he recovered from his own fender bender in the main lanes of traffic, Chaney watched a car slide on the ice and into the guardrail inside the TEXPress lanes. Another car was unable to slow down and smashed into the first car.

“The truck behind that vehicle tried to sacrifice himself into the concrete barrier, but the ice was so slick that as soon as he hit the brakes, it was over,” Chaney said. “He pushed them about 30 feet. And then it was car, truck, car, truck, car — it was never-ending.”

Car slid and crashed into one another for about three minutes. During a pause in the chaos, Chaney jumped over the guardrail to try and help. He found some people who needed help getting out of their cars. Most of the people seemed OK, so Chaney started to walk through the pile-up to see if more people needed help.

The crash quickly became worse. A grain hopper smashed into the stopped cars and exploded, he said.

“I couldn’t see a foot in front of my face,” he said. “All that stuff was in the air, and I figured that’s where I should focus my attention, where it was worse.”

He saw a woman inside a small car, crumpled to the point that he could not tell what kind of car it was. She was screaming, so he jumped the rail and tried to get to her. He was in-between a tractor-trailer, the rear of a tractor-trailer, and her car, which was wedged between the two vehicles.

He was trying to help her out of the trapped car when he saw a Fed-Ex truck heading toward them. He dove under the tractor-trailer and watched helplessly as the truck slammed into the woman.

“And she was crushed to death,” he said.

In a Facebook Live video he posted later, Chaney described the moment.

“I witnessed (someone) die in front of me, where I barely got out with my life. I mean, nearly missed it,” he said in the video. “I heard the truck hit, I heard the explosion, then I heard cars and metal crunching and I threw myself under a semi-truck trailer just behind me. And that lady that I was trying to get out of her car got crushed to death. But I did rescue a few other people who I was able to drag out of their vehicle.”

After he watched the woman he was trying to save die, Chaney said his “brain kind of shut off.”

He remembers a second truck hit the growing pile-up at high speed. The crash became denser as cars continued to pile on top of one another. Fires sprang from the wreckage, and Chaney turned toward the front of the crash site again.

A man started to yell for him and said a woman was trapped inside her car. She was on her phone and screaming. Chaney used his fists and a pocket blade to knock out her window and pull her out of the car. On a Facebook Live video posted after the crash, Chaney shows his bloodied, cut-up hands.

He helped the woman, who was not wearing a jacket, to his truck, then continued to walk through the crash. One trucker needed help getting out of the vehicle, which was smoking and dumping diesel. He walked away, thanking Chaney.

“Some of it, I don’t remember,” he said. “After that lady got crushed, I don’t remember much.”

In total, around 100 vehicles were part of the roughly mile-long wreckage, according to authorities.

Six people have been confirmed dead, and about 65 were injured.

Aftermath of crash

First responders started to show up to the crash. Chaney walked up and down the crash site in areas where he could get through and check on people through their windows. He gave them a thumbs up and, if they gave him a thumbs up in return, he would move on. He helped a few more people out of their cars.

At about 7:30 a.m., a little over an hour after Chaney saw the first car hit a guardrail, he drove himself and the woman he pulled from her car away. He drove to the hospital — not to get medical attention, but because the woman worked in the medical field and knew the hospital where she worked would need her help.

At 7:34 a.m., he posted a Facebook Live explaining what happened. He described the crash as “a genocide of metal.”

Then, not knowing where else to go and in a state of shock, Chaney drove to work. He started to haul power poles for Sabre and made a full loop of his usual route down to Alvarado and into Kennedale.

“I need to get paid. My bills don’t stop,” he said. “The highway was shut down and the only way I could go was to work.”

After his first loop, however, he realized he needed to go home. At about 2:45 p.m., he made it back to his house and started to try and process what happened.

“People called me a hero, but I’m just like no. It’s kind of fight or flight,” he said. “Either you leave or you stay and fight it out. And my instinct was to stay and see what I could do. I didn’t want to just pull out my phone and record like a pansy.”

He urged people to stop sharing photos and videos of the crash, warning that people might recognize a loved one’s car in the wreckage before they know what happened to them.

“Nobody needs to see that, especially people that were there that witnessed things,” he said. “Because then they relive it.”

He said he is “internally confused and sad,” and frustrated by the way people were trapped in the pile-up by the TEXpress lanes. The lanes require motorists to pay an electronic toll as a way to pay their way around congestion that chronically occurs near downtown Fort Worth.

“You’re trapped by two walls,” he said. “It was basically turned into a gigantic slip and slide.”

Credit: Journalist Kaley Johnson / Yahoo news


Here is another article by Journalist Gordon Dickson of the Fort Worth Star-News giving the reason why this part of the Interstate is so dangerous.

The area where six people were killed early Thursday during a 133-car pileup on an ice-coated Interstate 35W is known for its chronic traffic congestion.

In 2018, a $1.4 billion expansion and modernization of I-35W was completed north of downtown Fort Worth — yet traffic continues grinding to a halt, not just during rush hour, but throughout the day and night.

Why can’t this problem be fixed?

Part of the issue is that another freeway, Texas 121 — also known as Airport Freeway — dead-ends at I-35W near downtown Fort Worth, about two miles south of Thursday’s crash. That merger forces lots of cars into a relatively small space — and motorists trying to get from 121 to I-30 must cross several lanes of traffic in less than a mile to get to their exit, which during heavy traffic (or bad weather) can cause gridlock for miles up the road.

In the 1980s, the state proposed extending Texas 121 around the north side of downtown Fort Worth and extending the roadway into southwest Fort Worth, which would relieve much of the stressful lane-changing. But that plan was opposed by neighborhood groups, many of whom worried about the impact on historical Samuels Avenue.

“It absolutely would have facilitated the flow of all that traffic to the southwest, but people were concerned about the impact to Trinity Park and the river and Samuels Avenue,” said Bill Meadows, a former Fort Worth councilman and Texas Transportation Commission member who also served on the city’s Streams and Valleys organization in the 1980s.

In addition to the bottleneck caused by highway mergers, the 2018 expansion project created a new set of toll lanes — known as TEXPress lanes — in the median of I-35W. The toll lanes require motorists to pay electronically (most car owners do that by affixing a TollTag to their windshield), but once you’re in the toll lanes there are limited places to exit.

Thursday’s pileup occurred near where the TEXPress lanes merge back into the non-toll freeway main lanes, in an area between 28th Street and Northside Drive. The lanes merge back into the non-toll main lanes on the left side of the road, which often caused motorists in the fast lane to brake and swerve. The speed limit is 75 mph on the TEXPress lanes where the crash occurred, and there are no shoulders or breakdown lanes.

The private consortium of companies that built the express lanes for the Texas Department of Transportation is known as North Tarrant Express Mobility Partners. That group is responsible for the maintenance of the toll and non-toll lanes.

Videos of the pileup aftermath taken by passers-by appear to show the pavement iced over when cars and trucks began to smash into each other. However, a spokesman for the North Tarrant Express Mobility Partners told the Star-Telegram the company had been actively working to keep ice off the roads.

“NTE & NTE35W maintenance crews started pre-treating our corridors on Tuesday and have been spot treating since then,” spokesman Robert Hinkle said in an email.

But one state elected leader is calling for an investigation into NTE Mobility Partners’ role in the maintenance of the I-35W corridor.

State Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth, whose district includes the site of the deadly crash, said he is “not a fan” of the state entering into partnerships with private companies to build and operate roads that ought to be the responsibility of the state. He said he is concerned that for-profit companies could overlook safety issues such as preventable bottlenecks.

“Texas should be doing this on our own,” Romero said in a phone interview. “Now we have created this clearly a very dangerous trap.”

Romero said that based on the videos and photos of the pileup that he saw, he doesn’t think NTE Mobility Partners had even tried to deice that stretch of I-35W.

“It sure sounds false to me,” Romero said. “The officers and fire folks that are there now, they’re hurting because they had to pull all those people out of those cars, and they know how it happened. Those folks didn’t have the ability to break.”

Beyond the deicing issue, Romero said he wants to learn more about how the state managed to spend $1.4 billion on road improvements yet didn’t add any non-toll lanes.

Southbound I-35W features three lanes heading toward downtown Fort Worth, but when motorists get to the Belknap Street exit the freeway shrinks to only two lanes. There, many motorists wait until the last second to get out of the merging right lane, and that can cause backups for several miles all the way to 28th Street — near the site of Thursday’s tragic pileup.


Video credit: YouTube.com

Mary Wilson – The Death of a Supreme!

The Supremes were a huge part of my childhood having older siblings that were already “Hip & Groovy,” I learned to love the music of the Detroit Sound Machine named, “Motown!” Back then during the late 60s, and early 70s, I remember very well the great music that came out of Detroit and the Supremes were right at the top of the charts.  My memories of this fabulous girl group was what I saw on television, getting a hair brush pretending it was a microphone while trying to dance and sing like them, but also watching my sisters perform their unique dance moves while staying in rhythm with the music. Those times, I will never forget!

Mary Wilson (March 6, 1944 – February 8, 2021) was an American singer. She gained worldwide recognition as a founding member of The Supremes, the most successful Motown act of the 1960s and the best-charting female group in U.S. chart history, as well as one of the best-selling girl groups of all-time. The group released twelve number-one hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 which set the record at the time, ten of which Wilson sang backing vocals on.

Wilson remained with the group following the departures of other original members, Florence Ballard in 1967 and Diana Ross in 1970, though the group disbanded following Wilson’s own departure in 1977. Wilson later became a New York Times best-selling author in 1986 with the release of her first autobiography, Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme, which set records for sales in its genre, and later for the autobiography Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together.

Continuing a successful career as a concert performer in Las Vegas, Wilson also worked in activism, fighting to pass Truth in Music Advertising bills and donating to various charities. Wilson was inducted along with Ross and Ballard (as members of the Supremes) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Early life – 

Mary Wilson was born March 6, 1944, to Sam, a butcher, and Johnnie Mae Wilson in Greenville, Mississippi. She was the eldest of three children including a brother, Roosevelt, and a sister, Cathy. The Wilsons moved to Chicago, part of the Great Migration in which her father joined many African Americans seeking work in the North, but at age three, Mary Wilson was taken in by her aunt Ivory “I.V.” and uncle John L. Pippin in Detroit. Her parents eventually separated and Wilson’s mother and siblings later joined them in Detroit, though by then Wilson had come to believe I.V. was her real mother. To make ends meet, Wilson’s mother worked as a domestic worker. Wilson and her family had settled in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects, a housing project in Detroit where Wilson first met Florence Ballard. The duo became friends while singing in their school’s talent show. In 1959, Ballard asked Wilson to audition for Milton Jenkins, who was forming a sister group to his male vocal trio, the Primes (two members of which were later in The Temptations). Wilson was soon accepted into the group known as The Primettes, with Diana Ross and Betty McGlown, who lived in the same housing project with Wilson and Ballard. In this period, Wilson also met Aretha, Erma, and Carolyn Franklin, daughters of the pastor at her local Baptist church.

Wilson graduated from Detroit’s Northeastern High School in January 1962. Despite her mother’s urging that she goes to college, Wilson instead focused on her music career.

Career – 

Wilson at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2019

The Primettes signed to Motown Records in 1961, changing the group’s name to The Supremes. In between that period, McGlown left to get married and was replaced by Barbara Martin. In 1962, the group was reduced to a trio after Martin’s departure. The Supremes scored their first hit in 1963 with the song, “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes”, and reached No. 1 on the pop charts for the first time with the hit, “Where Did Our Love Go”, becoming their first of 12 No. 1 singles. (Though Wilson sang background on all of their hits before 1967, it was later revealed that Motown used in-house background singers, The Andantes, for the hits “Love Child” and “Someday We’ll Be Together”).

By 1964, the group had become international superstars. In 1967, Motown president Berry Gordy changed the name of the group to Diana Ross & The Supremes, and after a period of tension, Florence Ballard was removed from the Supremes that July. Cindy Birdsong was chosen to take her place. The new lineup continued to record hit singles, although several stalled outside the top 20 chart range. Ross left the group in early 1970, and at her farewell performance, Jean Terrell was introduced as the replacement for Ross. According to Wilson in her memoirs, Berry Gordy told Wilson that he thought of having Syreeta Wright join the group in a last-minute change after Terrell had already been introduced as lead singer, to which Wilson refused. With Terrell, the Supremes recorded seven top-40 hit singles in a three-year period. One “River Deep/Mountain High” was a collaboration with the Four Tops. Other recordings by the trio which charted include; “Up the Ladder to the Roof”, “Stoned Love”, “Nathan Jones”, and “Floy Joy”. Of these releases, only “Stoned Love” reached a No. 1 status (R&B Chart). Unlike the latter years with Ross, however, all but one of the hits, “Automatically Sunshine”, succeeded in reaching the top 20 charts, with two breaking into the top 10. During this period, Wilson contributed lead or co-lead vocals to several Supremes songs, including the hits “Floy Joy” and “Automatically Sunshine”, and the title track of the 1971 album Touch.

Wilson in 2019 – 

In 1972, Cindy Birdsong left the group following marriage and pregnancy and was replaced by Lynda Lawrence. The group’s popularity and place on record charts dropped significantly. For the first time in a decade, two singles in a row failed to break into the top 40, including the Stevie Wonder penned-and-produced “Bad Weather”. Discouraged, Jean Terrell and Lynda Lawrence both departed in late 1973. Scherrie Payne was recruited from a group called The Glass House. They were signed to the Invictus label, owned by the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting-production team (who composed 10 of the Supremes No. 1 1960s singles). Cindy Birdsong also returned. Beginning with this lineup change, Wilson began doing almost half of the group’s lead vocal duties, as she was considered the group’s main attraction and reason for continuing. In 1975, Wilson sang lead on the Top 10 disco hit “Early Morning Love”. In 1976, the group scored its final hit single with “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking”, written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland Group and included on the H-D-H produced album High Energy. Birdsong again departed, just before the album’s release, and was replaced by the group’s final official member, Susaye Greene, whose voice was dubbed over two songs. High Energy produced a flurry of positive reviews and sales, but a follow-up H-D-H effort in 1977 failed to ignite much interest. In late 1977, Wilson left The Supremes, following a performance at London’s Drury Lane Theatre. After Payne and Greene unsuccessfully lobbied to get a replacement for Wilson, the Supremes officially disbanded.

Wilson became involved in a protracted legal battle with Motown over management of the Supremes. After an out-of-court settlement, Wilson signed with Motown for solo work, releasing a disco-heavy self-titled album in 1979. A single from the album, “Red Hot”, had a modest showing of No. 90 on the pop charts. Midway through the production of a second solo album in 1980, Motown dropped her from its roster. Throughout the mid-1980s, Wilson focused on performances in musical theater productions, including Beehive, Dancing in the Streets, and Supreme Soul.

In 1994, The Supremes were recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7060 Hollywood Blvd.

Wilson found major success once more with her memoir: Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme in 1986. The book remained on the national best-seller list for months and established a sales record for the genre. The book focused on the early career of the Supremes and its success during the 1960s. Four years later, in 1990, Wilson released her second memoir: Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together, also a best-seller, which focused on the Supremes in the 1970s. In between this period, Wilson became a frequent guest on several television programs and talk shows and began regularly performing in Las Vegas casinos and resorts. Wilson then recorded a cover version of “Ooh Child” for the Motorcity label in 1990. A year later, she signed with CEO Records and released the album, Walk the Line, in 1992. The label filed for bankruptcy the day after its national release. Wilson maintained that she was deceived about the financial status of the label. The available copies of the album quickly sold out, however, and Wilson continued her success as a concert performer.

Wilson fought two court cases with former employees over usage of the Supremes name; Supremes’ replacement singers Lynda Lawrence and Scherrie Payne and a former backing vocalist from her 1980s concert work, Kaaren Ragland. In both cases, the courts found for the employees. This prompted Wilson to take a high-profile role in lobbying for “Truth in Music” legislation, which prohibits the usage of musical acts names unless an original member of the group is in the act or the group is properly licensed by the last person to hold the right of title to the name. Her efforts succeeded in more than 28 U.S. states. In 1995, Wilson released a song, “.U”, for Contract Recording Company. A year later, Wilson released the song, “Turn Around” for Da Bridge Records.

In late 1999, a proposal to unite all former living Supremes for a summer 2000 tour, was negotiated by Ross and SFX. After securing SFX’s interest, Ross had the promoter contact the other former members, refusing to directly negotiate with the other members, in order to spare any hurt feelings among the women. Talks and plans for the tour were well underway before Wilson was contacted by Ross in December 1999. Wilson upset she had been contacted so late, wanted to speak with Ross directly before beginning negotiations. Ross felt they should speak after negotiations took place. Following Ross’s initial contact, she removed herself from the negotiations leaving them between the women, their representatives, and the promoters. Both Wilson and Ross knew that the real heart of The Supremes was the trio that included the very creator of the group, Florence Ballard. Despite the hard knowledge of show business realities, without Ballard negotiations could only be half-hearted in such a return to the group’s past formulations. Still, pushing on, TNA/SFX initially offered Wilson $1 million. Birdsong was reported to have been offered less than $1 million. Wilson and Birdsong were also informed they would not have any creative input into the show. Wilson rejected the initial offer feeling she, Ross, and Birdsong should be paid equally and have equal input into the show. Promoters increased Wilson’s offer up to $2 million after the initial rejection. Ross then agreed to offer Wilson another $2 million from her personal finances added to the $2 million TNA/SFX proposed for a total of $4 million. Wilson and Birdsong’s request for creative input into the show was again rejected. Ross stipulated that all of the other artists’ fees were guaranteed, meaning that they’d receive the full amount of their contracts, regardless of how many performances actually took place.

Wilson erroneously stated publicly that Ross was to receive between $15 to $20 million. Ross, as the tour’s co-producer, was receiving $500,000 per night from TNA/SFX to cover the tour’s expenses. When the expenses exceeded the allotment, Ross covered the overages. Wilson’s final offer of $4 million and Birdsong’s offer of $1 million came with a deadline of early 2000 (in order to begin production of the sets, costume fittings, hiring of staff, etc., and an on-schedule commencement of the tour). Wilson did accept the final offer, but her acceptance was rejected by TNA/SFX citing “the train has left the station.” The promoter ceased negotiations with Wilson and Birdsong. Without Wilson or Birdsong, Ross began to question whether to continue to stage the tour. Berry Gordy Jr. had called TNA/SFX during the negotiation process requesting that Wilson and Birdsong receive better pay and have creative input into the show. Ross contacted Gordy for advice about the tour and he reportedly told her to continue “if it’s something she’d have fun doing;” however, he warned her about continuing without Wilson and Birdsong. Ross decided to continue. The tour, Return to Love, instead went forward with former 1970s Supremes Scherrie Payne and Lynda Lawrence (Susaye Green and Jean Terrell refused to participate because the promoter requested that they audition for the tour, as they had not heard the women sing in over 20 years), but, was canceled mid-tour due low ticket sales (despite selling out New York City’s Madison Square Garden ), following complaints of high ticket prices in a down touring market, a spate of high scrutiny by some members of the public, and press regarding the absence of some performers (i.e. Wilson and Birdsong), and the dispute between versions of events. That year, Wilson released an updated version of her autobiographies as a single combined book. That same year, an album, I Am Changing, was released by Mary Wilson Enterprises, produced through her and her then-management, Duryea Entertainment.

In 2001, Wilson starred in the national tour of Leader of the Pack – The Ellie Greenwich Story. A year later, Wilson was appointed by Secretary of State Colin Powell as a “culture-connect ambassador” for the U.S. State Department, appearing at international events arranged by that agency. In 2006, a live concert DVD, Mary Wilson Live at the Sands, was released. Four years later, another DVD, Mary Wilson: Live from San Francisco… Up Close, was released. During this period, Wilson became a musical activist, having been part of the Truth in Music Bill, a law proposed to stop impostor groups performing under the names of the 1950s and 1960s rock and roll groups, including Motown groups The Marvelettes and The Supremes. The law was passed in 27 states. Wilson also toured and lectured internationally, as well as across the United States, speaking to multiple groups worldwide. Her lecture series, “Dare to Dream”, focuses on reaching goals and triumph over adversity. Wilson’s charity work included the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Easter Seals Foundation, UNICEF, The NAACP, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the All-Star Network, and Figure Skaters of Harlem, a youth organization devoted to helping children towards entering the Olympics. Most recently, Wilson became the Mine Action spokesperson for the Humpty Dumpty Institute.


For more on Mary Wilson, please click on the link below:


Credit: Wikipedia.org

Beautiful Quotes to Brighten Your Day!

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. ― William Shakespeare

“It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism. ― J. Horace McFarland

“Love is more powerful than any drug on this planet. And it’s brighter than any star whose light is blazing on it. ― Jason Reeves

“Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. ― Michael Leunig

“Love dies only when growth stops. ― Pearl S. Buck

“Love in the real world means saying you’re sorry 10 times a day.  ―  Kathie Lee Gifford

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. ― Albert Einstein

“To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. ― Lao Tzu

“Love is a lot like Dreams! They both have no borders or boundaries! Except for the ones we build in our egoic mind. ― Philip T. M

“Love is only a dirty trick played on us to achieve continuation of the species. ― W. Somerset Maugham

“Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin … it’s the triumphant twang of a bedspring. ― S. J. Perelman

 Credit: https://www.yourselfquotes.com/beautiful-quotes/

Photo credit: Yahoo.com/images